Garmin has been popular for its fantastic watches for sports enthusiasts & outdoor adventures. Their product units are numerous & various, 

Even better, in case you are not kidding about your athletic interests, you will not turn out badly with this brand’s sports watch, especially those from the Fenix series. Yet, on the other hand, the wide assortment of options makes it pretty harder to pick your best fit. 

That is why we are here to lend you a hand with our close, useful comparison between two bad boys of the line: Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6.

Pros and cons

1. Fenix 5

Garmin Fenix 5
Garmin Fenix 5

What you may like:

  • Enough activity tracking features
  • This model works to navigate you, aside from registering your route. 
  • The QuickFit smartwatch strap connection allows you to change the strap easily.

What you may not like:

  • There is no music storage support; that is why do not forget to take your cell phone with you during the workout.
  • Making contactless payments is only possible if you select a Plus version.

2. Fenix 6

Garmin Fenix 6
Garmin Fenix 6

What you may like:

  • More activity tracking features.
  • Making contactless payments through Garmin Pay is great.
  • You have the choice to check the settings’ impact on the battery duration and adjust accordingly to increase the battery life.

What you may not like:

  • Maps, more transparent navigation, and huge music storage are only accessible in Pro versions. 

Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6: How they compare in detail?

1. Sizes: The more recent, the thinner

As for the design, where there are rather many likenesses, you are better off knowing about several significant differences between them.

Specifically, both have three sizes, the X, S, & base (regular) version. For your information, the S is made considering the female sports geek. That is why its footprint is less sizable for smaller wrists and at the same, the model does not sacrifice the multi-sport highlights & attributes. Speaking of the X version, it even boasts greater usefulness & battery duration; with that being said, the product compromises the small form element.

What is more to note? While the size options’ actual dimensions are just about the same, their thickness differs. Simply put, the more recent range is the thinner of the line.

2. Materials: The Fenix 6 with more expensive Sapphire editions

Now on to the materials. Both models are constructed out of titanium or stainless steel (based on which version you pick). When it comes to the weight, the range is from about 2.04 ounces to 3.3 ounces. 

Further, you have the choice to get the wearable’s more expensive Sapphire editions. As indicated by the same, the edition comes with sapphire faces not easily damaged by scratching.

3. Screen size: Larger over time

Also, the brand has figured out how to expand their timepiece models’ screen size over time and simultaneously make the case diameter stay identical. 

With a larger screen, you will appreciate more room to view training data, maps, & notifications. For instance, in terms of the Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6, the regular model & 6X variants in the 6 range have improved from a 1.2-inch face on the Fenix 5 to 1.3 inches and 1.4 inches. 

4. Water resistance: Impressive

Both boast amazing water resistance. 10ATM is for the Garmin Fenix 5 and the 6. Indeed, on a side note, for a great many people, 10 and 5ATM is not that much different.

5. Battery duration: Fenix 6 lasting 36 hours in GPS mode compared to 25 hours in Fenix 5

First off, regarding the Fenix 6 range, the larger size means longer battery life. To be more specific, the medium-sized one’s battery duration is 36 hours when the GPS is on and around two weeks in smartwatch mode. The biggest 6X Pro’s battery lasts 60 hours with GPS on and an incredible 21 days in smartwatch mode. For the S size, its battery life is nine days in smartwatch mode and as long in GPS mode as the bigger Garmin Fenix 5’s.

Next up, speaking of the Fenix 5, its product units generally do not last as long as the Fenix 6 ones. And the most notable difference is the Fenix 5’s battery life with GPS on. We mean it is eleven hours shorter compared to that of the Fenix 6 watches in the same mode. 

Also, it is worth noting that where the Fenix 5’s battery life is from five to 25 hours, the Fenix 6 models last as long as a day and a half. Both watches’ battery durations in smartwatch mode are similar. 

6. Navigation & Maps: Fenix 6’s Pro versions with clearer navigation

Specifically, how do Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6 compare in this regard?

As for the Fenix 6, on account of the topographic maps on the Pro product units, you will not be aware of where you are all through your hike. And the map directions allow the navigation to be clearer than the non-Pro models & Garmin Fenix 5. As you may know, those merely display an arrow that directs to the right course. 

Best yet, you may like the Pro one’s golf course maps & thousands of ski maps, which are lacking in the Fenix 5 watch aside from the non-Pro.

How about the Garmin Fenix 5? Similar to the Fenix 6 product units (excluding the Pro), there is no map included in Fenix 5. Again, without a map & directions, the wearable does the job of navigation thanks to an arrow directing to the correct direction. It is also worth mentioning that the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus boasts maps; thus, it will depend on map directions to navigate you the right way.

7. Sensors: Fenix 6 has an edge

Speaking of the Garmin Fenix 6 smartwatch, it improves the heart rate sensor by adding the brand’s more recent ELEVATE heart rate module. Such an enhancement should assist with accuracy. 

This highlight aside, the model features the PulseOx sensor. Meanwhile, on the Fenix 5 Plus line, the 5X Plus is the only one to boast that PulseOx sensor. For your information, the sensor works to monitor your blood oxygen, generally at night though you have the choice to check the tracking progress during the day. 

Regarding other sensors, they are something very similar. 

8. Music storage: Fenix 6 Pro wins with music storage support for countless songs

Now you may have a better idea of how Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6 are different. But that is not all. The music storage factor should count.

Again, the Garmin Fenix 6’s Pro variant is noteworthy. The base product unit does not feature maps; it cannot support music storage, either. In comparison, the Pro ones have their accessibility. And on a side note, talking about the 6X, it presents the Solar unit, which is novel on a Garmin wristwear.

To be more specific, the Fenix 6 Pro versions’ 32GB-storage is impressive. In other words, you will put away thousands of songs on the wrist-worn timepiece with ease. And of course, playing the music straightforwardly from it is simply so convenient. You can do a good workout while listening to music from your watch instead of the smartphone you choose to leave at home safely. 

Please note that except if it is the Pro version, there is no music storage support in the Garmin Fenix 6. Yet, on the other hand, its music controls are hardly doubtful. They should enable you to control the music from your cell phone. 

Talking about the Garmin Fenix 5, its storage capacity is 64MB. For those who are not in the know, that is fundamentally nothing. Reasonably, downloading music onto the watch is impossible. 

Also, similar to the Fenix 6, the Fenix 5 brings music controls to the table. So you can control the music played on your smartphone through Spotify and whatnot. We are pretty sure that you will enjoy fast starting the next song or turning down or up the volume from the wrist. 

See: other smartwatches for music.

9. Battery saver capability: Fenix 6 wins with the ability to decide on how to optimize battery life 

The Power Manager capability is something novel on the Garmin Fenix 6 smartwatch. Thanks to it, you can be aware of the impact some settings have on your model’s battery duration. Be into that function for a while and your mind may be screaming that the Power Manager is precise to the point that the watch shows in hours what you will save when you turn off the functions. All things considered, you will easily increase the battery life when necessary – say, when the smartwatch is going to run out of juice during a significant workout.

What are the differences between Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6 in this regard? While the Garmin Fenix 5 does not boast the Power Manager capability, its UltraTrac mode works to improve the battery duration via the satellite connection just now and then. By and by, you will do so during hikes with the GPS significance not that focused on. And that capability fails to come close to the Fenix 6’s Power Manager, which allows you to choose the functions to switch off.

10. Contactless payment: Fenix 6 with contactless payments that are available in not every Fenix 5 smartwatch

The Fenix 6 has the upper hand again because its entire line lets you make contactless payments, because of Garmin Pay. You should simply hold the model against the specific contactless payment terminal. That payment method via the watch will enable you to leave your wallet at home when you are working out.

smartwatch contactless payment

In contrast to the Fenix 6, not every Fenix 5 product unit boasts Garmin Pay. Specifically, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is the only one that can. Are you planning to get the Fenix 5 instead of the Plus variant? Then, choose to take the wallet with you when you are doing exercise. That helps if a decent lunch bar tempts you along the way – for example.

11. Body Battery: Fenix 6 aces it

It is worth addressing that both options keep tabs on practically anything, for instance, kayaking & snowboarding. Designed for people committed to training, the wearables additionally have many cutting-edge physiological highlights and attributes. So, how about we, without any further ado, discuss how different Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6 are in this respect?

First things first, we have to talk about the Body Battery capability that Fenix 6 has while Fenix 5 does not. Its point is to help users improve their sleep, rest, & training choices. The attribute leverages an optimal combination of activity info, sleep, HRV (heart rate variability, & stress to notify you about your body’s energy levels.

12. Training progress: Fenix 6 rocks again

The Fenix 6 offers several other new performance metrics that are not accessible in Fenix 5. 

For example, rather than the training status, what you will appreciate is the heat & altitude performance acclimation feature. Environmental elements will not affect your performance metrics anymore. Plus, Training Effect & Training Load Focus are worthy of your attention.

13. Incident Detection and Assistance: Another interesting feature from Fenix 6

Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6? The Fenix 6 does know how to stand out by coming with the Incident Detection and Assistance attribute. To be more specific, once an incident gets detected, the application will deliver an automated message as well as use your GPS location & your name to email to your emergency contacts.

14. PacePro: A practical tool that Fenix 6 boasts

For those who are not in the know, PacePro is an efficient tool to accomplish your pace objectives during descent & ascent. 

After checking out the incline on your final speed objective & your course, it figures your pace for each kilometer. You will get partial targets throughout your race’s duration. But that is not all; even while climbing up the mountain, you can check whether you are on time or in case stepping it up is necessary. 

Meanwhile, since PacePro is the brand’s new attribute, it is not accessible in previous models – say, the Garmin Fenix 5. 

So, if you often run long-distance races or take part in other competitions, the Fenix 6 is your better bet. As you may know, PacePro does a more convenient & fantastic job than the paper tapes with intervals. It will be effortless to look at how far you are behind or ahead on your wristwear, regardless of whether you are ascending or descending.

All in all

Which should you pick between Garmin Fenix 5 vs 6?

Regarding the complete-package sports wearable, you cannot go wrong with the Fenix 6 series. 

For example, its superior battery life is hardly doubtful. Even more, you will appreciate the Power Manager feature which helps increase the battery duration considerably when you turn off settings. 

Contactless payments through Garmin Pay are accessible in these Fenix 6 models as well. Searching for the absolute best? The Pro variants’ clear navigation & huge music storage are the chef’s kiss.

As you may realize, the more recent the line is, the more highlights and attributes are brought to the table. Everything boils down to how much you can afford.

If you are looking for a model that gets enough job done, the Garmin Fenix 5 should be one of your best options. Also, it is great if a bargain is what you are after. Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945 is another smartwatch that is worth your consideration. Notably, it has practically any tracking attributes that the Garmin Fenix 6 delivers yet is less expensive. The model’s construction is not that premium, which is the tradeoff.

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